Cardiff – National Museum

October 19, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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Cardiff’s National Museum is more of a natural history museum with a splash of art and human archaeological history than a true national museum.

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As a result if you’ve been to a natural history museum anywhere before you may not get much out of it. Children will enjoy it as there are plenty of large models and recreations to engage the imagination. The museum also covers the geological history of Wales (as well as native species etc) so that’s probably the only thing this section of the museum has going for it. The maps at the museum do show Wales in relation with the other parts of the UK as they moved around the globe over millions of years – much better than that other museum.

The museum also has on offer some Welsh artwork in its upper galleries. I assume the arty among you will find something of interest here. I did not.

What I was searching for was an understanding of Wales and its people and history. At first I thought I’d missed it but eventually found it in one of the side wings. Most of this section details stone age life with maybe a third of room detailing historical developments. There was limited or more aptly no real explanation of English-Wales relationship when it came under the former’s control or the reasoning for devolution. I don’t know whether this was because everyone is meant to know these facts already or perhaps after centuries it is still too soon for an open discussion. Regardless as a newcomer I was left wanting with no understanding of the forces at work in Wales. For a place of knowledge that’s great work.

I later asked at the information desk (as well as the tourism office) where I could find more information about Welsh history -especially political as that’s my interest- everyone seemed mystified that such a thing should exist. I was pointed to St Fagans and the Senedd. Still not a great response for a part of the world that’s trying to highlight its differences and further devolve. 

Apparently there are plans to focus the museum solely on natural history. That might be a good idea as long as they develop a new museum for the history of the Welsh people.

It is free and located at Cathays Park in Central Cardiff. In its current form you can skip it.028

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What's with the matching outfits?

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